Capitalism without Poverty - Center for Decision Research | Chicago Booth

2009 Conference Overview Capitalism Without Poverty

Symposium Overview

Capitalism without poverty. Can such a vision even be approached? As the world continues to move in the direction of market economies, poverty remains a stubbornly and distressingly widespread problem, sustained by a complex of economic, psychological, sociological, political, and ethical factors. The purpose of this symposium was to facilitate a dialogue and exchange of ideas among experts grappling with these diverse elements and thereby to promote integrative, innovative, cutting-edge thinking about effective ways to alleviate poverty.

The scope of the symposium was interdisciplinary and international, with participants comprising: leading scholars from economics, behavioral sciences, sociology, public policy, and philosophy; policy makers from governmental and nongovernmental organizations; and practitioners with experience in implementing antipoverty efforts. The focus throughout the symposium was on the implications for action of participants’ theories, research, and experiences. Specific themes for the presentations included:

Why does poverty seem resistant to straightforward efforts at alleviation?

What can be learned from the similarities and differences among underdeveloped, developing, and developed countries?

How do individual, community, and institutional factors interact?

On what aspects of the problem are interventions likely to be most effective?

What lessons can be drawn from successful and failed attempts to alleviate poverty?

Is poverty inevitable, and if so, in what form and to what degree?

In each case, our focal question was:

“What does this imply for effective interventions to alleviate poverty?”

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